Thursday 27th October 2016                 Change text size:

Cooler Pacific temperatures explain slowdown in global warming


Scientists have identified the cooling of tropical waters as the cause of the global warming slowdown experienced since 1998. However, they argue that the temperature rise will continue to gain pace once the Pacific reverts back to normal.

According to scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, there was a discrepancy between the increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the slow pace of rising temperatures.

This fact led to many sceptical speculations, including one that says that carbon dioxide is not linked to global warming. However, the Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling study published in Nature, explains that the ‘pause’ in global temperatures rise was due to a parallel ocean cooling, which was particularly evident in the Pacific.

“These compelling new results provide a powerful illustration of how the remote eastern tropical Pacific guides the behavior of the global ocean-atmosphere system, in this case exhibiting a discernible influence on the recent hiatus in global warming”, said Dan Barrie of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s  (NOAA) climate programme office, which contributed to the study.

The cooling does not mean that the warming has stopped. In fact, researchers believed that as soon as the climate cycle that led to the cooling reverses, the Pacific will be warm again and the warming trend will continue.

As the Skeptical Science team notes, one of the most common myths around global warming is that the planet has been cooling since 1998. In fact, this claim clashes with evidence that 2010 was the hottest year on record.

The planet has continued to accumulate heat since 1998 – global warming is still happening”, Skeptical Science says.

Nevertheless, surface temperatures show much internal variability due to heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. 1998 was an unusually hot year due to a strong El Nino.

Further reading:

Study: increasing acidification threatening ocean life

Al Gore: climate change has reached a tipping point and can be reversed

Fox News and conservative US media blamed for ‘decreasing trust’ in global warming

Climate scientists ‘95% sure’ that global warming is manmade, says leaked IPCC document

Climate sceptics are our generation’s slavery apologists

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